Moments after the fiery crash of an Asiana Airlines jetliner on a San Francisco runway, a pilot from another plane announced welcome news to the airport control tower: There were survivors.
“We see people,” a United Airlines pilot told air traffic controllers, according to an audio recording of communications with San Francisco International’s tower. “They need attention. They are alive and walking around.”
In the recording, at least two pilots on a nearby runway told controllers that passengers were emerging from the smoking wreckage of the Boeing 777.
“People are just walking outside the airplane right now?” a controller asked.
“Yeah. Some, some people look like they are struggling,” the United pilot, waiting to take off for Osaka, Japan, told controllers.
“We can see about two or three people that are moving and... survived,” a second unidentified pilot said.
Their radio dispatches came as controllers diverted incoming flights to other airports and rushed fire trucks and ambulances toward the stricken plane.
“We have emergency vehicles responding,” a controller told the Asiana pilots. “We have everyone on their way.”